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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

| August 8, 2018

Entercom Q2: “Great Progress.” Owing to the addition of CBS Radio, Entercom Communications’ second-quarter net revenue jumped, but fell on a same-station basis. Revenue nearly tripled from $125 million to $372.1 million; however, on a same-station basis, it decreased from $405.7 million to $372.1 million. Meanwhile, net income dropped from $6.4 million to $1.6 million. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field notes, “We have made great progress across multiple fronts as we continue our work to capitalize on our transformational merger. We have signed a definitive agreement with Bonneville to complete our last required station divestitures; successfully launched the Entercom Audio Network with strong early revenues; terminated our painful relationship with United States Traffic Network; achieved rapid growth on our burgeoning Radio.com platform; and delivered a 5% reduction in Q2 expenses as we realize our merger-related synergies. Second-quarter revenues were down 8%, exacerbated by the loss of $12 million in revenues from USTN, but revenue performance is improving. We are currently pacing down 2% in the third-quarter, excluding the impact of USTN. For the fourth quarter, we are pacing up 3% on an unadjusted basis. I am proud of the outstanding team we have built and the terrific work they are doing to capitalize on our abundant scale-driven opportunities.”

Local Nielsen Media Impact Debuts. The planning system allows users to understand cross-media reach, frequency, and duplication on a local scale using advanced audience segments from Nielsen Scarborough. In addition, it enables advertisers, agencies, and media owners to reach their desired audience in the country’s 25 “Local People Meter” (LPM) Designated Market Areas (DMAs). Local Nielsen Media Impact is built with respondent level data to allow in-depth cross-platform analyses for both local television and radio separately, as well as TV and radio together. Beasley Media Group vice president of sales Bob McCurdy comments, “Local Nielsen Media Impact offers empirical data supporting radio’s ability to amplify and complement TV campaigns. This is the first time radio is included in this type of multi-channel media mix that enables users to derive cross media insights with currency grade accuracy. Nielsen Scarborough data within the NMI solution allows us to assess campaign scenarios against consumer insights.” According to Nielsen vice president of product leadership Jay Nielsen, “Local Nielsen Media Impact offers a unique lens to the industry, enabling effective decision-making about where and when to engage audiences with content and advertising on local levels. Similar to the solution clients have widely adopted on the national level, this local solution unlocks access to new insights on media allocation and schedule optimization to better reach a cross platform-based audience.”

Q2: Townsquare Media “Exceeds Previously Issued Guidance.” Second-quarter net revenue for Townsquare Media rose 1.9% to $11.96 million. Owing to the divestiture of North American Midway Entertainment, however, net income decreased by 70.6% to $1.6 million; net income from continuing operations improved 29.2% to $10.1 million. Co-chief executive officer Bill Wilson remarks, “Our second-quarter financial results exceeded our previously issued guidance, continuing the momentum we experienced in the first-quarter of the year. In the first six months of 2018, net revenue increased 2.6%, and 2.2% excluding political revenue; Adjusted EBITDA increased 6.6%. Our second-quarter and year-to-date revenue growth was primarily the result of continued stability in our broadcast products and strong revenue growth of our digital solutions.” Co-CEO Dhruv Prasad notes, “Through internal reorganization and the divestiture of North American Midway Entertainment, we have concluded the strategic reset that we initiated in late-2017 and have largely reoriented the company towards the stability, profitable growth, and cash generation of the advertising, marketing solutions, and live events businesses in our local market footprint. Our strong performance in the first half of this year reinforces that this was the right strategy, and we remain committed to this plan moving forward.”

Rush Limbaugh’s Impact on Radio and America Examined by News Site, Who. What. Why. (whowhatwhy.org)  Veteran talk radio programmer and executive Jeff Schechtman of Napa Broadcasting interviews TALKERS founder Michael Harrison about Rush Limbaugh and the state of talk radio for this week’s WhoWhatWhy.org podcast.  It is part of an article titled “The Mouth that Roared – How Rush Limbaugh Changed America” posted yesterday (8/7) marking the milestone of the talk radio superstar’s syndicated radio show reaching its 30th anniversary last week.  Schechtman and Harrison discuss the impact of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, Limbaugh’s major contributions to the rise of news/talk radio, how talk radio has changed over the decades, the driving factors behind those changes, the influence of the video screen on communications devices, and the general future of talk media.  To read the article and listen to the podcast, please click here .

Making Music Great Again.  It seems the talented Mike Gallagher isn’t the only member of the Salem roster of talk show hosts blessed with extraordinary gifts as a musical entertainer.  These two super-suave lounge lizards pictured above are none other than Salem Radio Network host Larry Elder (left) and WNYM (“AM 970 The Answer”), New York morning man Joe Piscopo (right).  The two are off-air buds and like hanging out together when they find themselves on the same coast.  This bit of show biz magic was captured last night (8/7) as the two serenaded thrilled diners at Vitello’s, a swingin’ hot spot in Studio City, California.  The song they were performing – Louis Armstrong’s classic, “What a Wonderful World.”

Sinclair Q2 Revenue Up 11.9%. While stats for its Seattle radio properties (KOMO “News Radio 1000 & 97.7, KVI “Talk Radio 570,” and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5) are not broken out in its earnings release, Sinclair Broadcast Group saw second-quarter revenue increase 11.9% year-to-year to $730.1 million; net income attributable to the company fell from $44.6 million to $28 million. Regarding the pending acquisition of Tribune Media Company, Sinclair president and chief executive officer Chris Ripley states, “We are working with them to analyze approaches to the regulatory process that are in the best interest of our companies, employees, and shareholders.” In terms of Q2 results, Ripley notes, “[They] came in well ahead of guidance in all key financial metrics, and we expect the second half of the year to continue to be robust, underlined by increasing distribution revenues and strong political advertising spend. This year’s mid-term elections are expected by many to have the most spending in U.S. history with broadcast television a primary beneficiary.”

Urban One Second-Quarter Net Revenue Down 2.1%. The year-to-year total slips to $115.2 million although broadcast and digital operating income is up 6.1% to $44.3 million. Overall operating income doubles to $24.8 million and net income improves from $802,000 to $23.6 million. Attributed to results in Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Raleigh, radio advertising fell 6% to $52 million. There was radio growth, however, in Dallas, Washington (D.C.), and Cleveland. Digital advertising, cable TV advertising, and event revenues are all off, as well; cable TV affiliate fees saw increases. Keeping pace with 2017, Tom Joyner’s 19th “Fantastic Voyage” took place in the second-quarter and generated $9.4 million. Company president and chief executive officer Alfred C. Liggins, III remarks, “Our Q2 radio performance was in line with expectation. After a tough April, the quarter improved sequentially, and we are currently pacing approximately flat for third-quarter. We are launching a new network in January 2019 that will target African-American females and feature lifestyle and entertainment programming. The addition of a second network will help us continue to grow our TV business in the longer term, and has great potential synergy with our existing platform. Our digital segment came in below expectation for Q2, but has had a very strong start to third quarter and we remain optimistic for the back half of the year.”

Lotus Acquires Scripps Stations in Tucson and Boise. Eight stations are involved in the $8 million transaction between (buyer) Lotus Communications and (seller) The E.W. Scripps Company. Lotus president Jim Kalmenson remarks, “We are looking forward to getting to know the many talented professionals at these Scripps radio stations. Both companies share a genuine passion for producing excellent local radio and serving the public.” Scripps president and chief executive officer Adam Symson adds, “Lotus Communications’ commitment to serving local communities – with a focus on western region markets in particular – makes it a natural fit to run the Tucson and Boise stations. This deal sets up the stations for continued success.” In Tucson, Lotus picks up and will keep adult contemporary KMXZ “94.9 “Mix FM” and sports talk KFFN “ESPN Tucson,” but will spin urban-rhythmic oldies KTGV “106.3 The Groove” and news/talk KQTH. Its Boise acquisitions include classic rock KJOT “J-105”; rock KQXR “100.3 – The X”; triple A KRVB “94.9 The River”; and classic hits KTHI “107.1 K-Hits.”

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime New York City (WMCA, WINS, WCBS-AM) newscaster and talk host Ralph Howard has died. According to Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup, “Ralph personified New York City – vibrant, charming, a little edgy, and nonstop energy; I will miss him greatly.” Tradup produced “Ralph & Ryan” on WMCA in the early-1980s; “Ryan” was longtime NBC-TV newsman Bill Ryan. In addition to New York City credentials, Howard worked in Chicago at WIND, WBBM-AM, and WCFL, as well as for The Associated Press and ABC Radio. Until he retired in May 2013, he was a news anchor for Howard Stern, hosting “Howard’s World,” covering Stern’s SiriusXM exploits. This Sunday (8/12) at 3:00 pm, a celebration of Ralph Howard’s life will be observed at New York City’s Riverside Chapel; Howard was 76 years old ….. Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” adds Envision Networks’ two-hour Nik Miles-hosted “Our Auto Expert” to its Sunday afternoon lineup (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm). Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick remarks, “When it comes to personality and compelling automotive talk, nobody does it better than Nik Miles. We are excited to share ‘Our Auto Expert’ with the world as part of our commitment to bring the best live & local programming to our listener community.” KXL operations manager Bruce Collins notes, “Nobody knows more about the auto industry than Nik. He is both informative and entertaining – we welcome Nik and his show to KXL.” Miles adds, “I am so excited be working with the country’s most forward-thinkers in radio. Being live and local every week gives listeners an opportunity to be the first to hear about groundbreaking automotive stories and stay informed.” ….. The former general manager of Ohana Media Group’s six Anchorage (Alaska) stations – Tom Oakes – is named operations manager for Scripps Radio’s five-station Springfield, Missouri cluster, which consists of KTTS “94.7 Country’s Best”; CHR KSPW “Power 96.5”; adult hits KRVI “106.7 The River”; and KSGF AM & FM “News/Talk 1260 & 104.1.” In addition, he will be the program director of KTTS. Springfield Operations vice president and general manager Rex Hansen notes, “Tom Oakes brings years of experience in all formats we operate here in Springfield. Our listeners, team, and advertisers will benefit greatly from his expertise. His coaching skills will make a difference for our air staff immediately.” Oakes remarks, “A busy fall lies ahead as we prepare for not only the next ratings sweep, but continue to work with our on-going projects, promotions and programming needs across the entire cluster.” Oakes previously was vice president of programming for  Ohana’s 11 stations in Alaska and Oregon; worked for New Northwest Broadcasters in a variety of upper-management roles with their stations in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington; and has experience in Omaha, Madison, and South Bend (Indiana) ….. The annual Public Radio Program Directors (PRPD) content conference will be held later this month (8/20 – 8/23) at Austin’s Hyatt Regency Hotel. “Pixels and Place” author Kate O’Neill will be a keynote speaker. PRPD is the only national gathering devoted solely to public radio content and programming and this year’s conference, “will be the most format-inclusive in the organization’s history. As every public radio station grapples with consumption, relevance and sustainability, the PRPD is committed to creating a setting where content leaders can learn, network and advance their careers.” ….. Owing to a strategy change regarding original podcasts, Amazon’s Audible Originals senior vice president of original content development Eric Nuzum is departing. The former NPR executive made the announcement in an email earlier this week. Several other Audible Originals staffers – including the entire unit responsible for original spoken-word podcast content – are also exiting, according to published reports. After releasing high-profile shows in its short existence, Audible Originals has more recently shifted to signing major authors to audiobook-first deals.

Round Two of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including Washington (D.C), Boston, Miami, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Denver, Tampa, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TEGNA Releases Q2 Financials. The former television division of Gannett, Virginia-based TEGNA, reports that its second-quarter net income from continuing operations was up 87.8% to $92.5 million. “Subscription,” which is the company’s term for television retransmission consent revenue, was up 16%. President/CEO Dave Lougee notes, “Our progress in the quarter gives us confidence that our growth strategy is on track. Our business mix continues to evolve toward predictable and profitable subscription-based revenue streams. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our paid subscriber base is very stable, and in fact, our total number of paid subscribers was up year-over-year for the first time in recent years.” TEGNA owns or operates 47 TV stations in 39 markets. Results for its San Diego radio properties, news/talk KFMB-AM “AM 760 Talk & Breaking News” and rock KFMB-FM “100.7 KFM-BFM,” are not broken out in its earnings releases. The company completed its acquisition of KFMB-AM, KFMB-FM, and KFMB-TV from Midwest Television six months ago for a reported $325 million.

Ohio Special Election/Primaries, Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, California Wildfire and the Environment, Trump China Tariffs, Alex Jones/InfoWars Banned by YouTube and Facebook, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Discussed Yesterday (8/6). The cliffhanger special election in Ohio and key primaries in several states, the trial of former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort highlighted by the damaging testimony of Rick Gates; the deadly California wildfire and its connection to the environment; Alex Jones and InfoWars being dropped by several major social media platforms and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday (8/7), according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Co-host of “The Bob & Tom Show” – Tom Griswold – will host two evenings of live comedy featuring Greg Hahn, Pat Godwin, and Josh Arnold one week from Friday (8/17) at Indianapolis’ Irving Theater and the following night (8/18) at Lafayette, Indiana’s Lafayette Theater. All proceeds from both shows will go to The Nora Dane Fund, which helps defray the costs of medical treatment and related expenses for two-year-old Nora Dane, who is being treated for a rare, aggressive malignant brain tumor. Griswold states, “Three of my favorite comedians are stepping up to help little Nora. I promise a great night of comedy to support the amazing efforts being made to help this wonderful little girl.” Preferred seating tickets for each show are $75 and include early access to the venue; a meet-and-greet with the featured talent; a photo; VIP laminate; and choice of seating. Griswold and co-host Bob Kevoian originate their Westwood One syndicated show from Cumulus Media Indianapolis flagship WFBQ “Q-95 Indy’s Classic Rock.” ….. In honor of mid-day talent Pat Martin’s 30th anniversary with Entercom Sacramento’s KRXQ “98 Rock,” The Pat Martin All-Star Band will perform tonight (Wednesday, 8/8, 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) as part of a free concert at Folsom, California’s Powerhouse Pub. Guest band members Jeff Keith from Tesla, composer Robert Sabino, and UFO’s “Atomik” Tommy McClendon are among others scheduled to appear. Martin currently fronts the longest consecutive running radio show in Sacramento history ….. As part of an exclusive long-term partnership with Saga Communications, Mediabase and BuzzAngle Music will provide Saga with comprehensive music listening and consumption data for more than 130 radio stations nationwide. Saga Communications vice president of programming Bob Lawrence comments, “Mediabase and BuzzAngle have proven to be essential tools for our many markets and programmers over the years. When presented with the opportunity to put them in our arsenal on a group-wide level, we simply could not resist.” Mediabase president and RCS Worldwide president/CEO Philippe Generali remarks, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be chosen by the very talented programming team at Saga Communications. This partnership will expand the list of markets covered by Mediabase and complement it with the BuzzAngle sales and streaming data for all Saga stations.” Meanwhile, Jim Lidestri, chief executive officer of Border City Media, the makers of BuzzAngle Music, adds, “Mediabase’s airplay monitoring and BuzzAngle’s extensive consumer analytics is a powerful combination for programmers. We are delighted to partner with Saga to give them the most comprehensive tools to connect with – and engage – their listeners through music.” ….. Tickets go on sale this Friday (8/10) for Stephens Media Group Tulsa alternative KMYZ “Z-104.5 The Edge,”-sponsored “The Edge Halloween Haunt.” The October 31 event will feature The Struts, Meg Myers, and Albert Hammond, Jr. ….. After a four-year hiatus, Corey Garrison will return to Binnie Media Portland, Maine country outlet WTHT “99.9 The Wolf” later this month (8/20) as music director and afternoon driver. Operations manager Stan Bennett notes, “Corey has a great passion for country music. I could not be happier to see him return home and help an already veteran team keep ‘The Wolf’ Maine’s most-listened to country station.” Prior to working for three Blueberry Broadcasting stations in Lewistown-Augusta-Bangor, Maine (WABK, WBAK, and WBKA), Garrison was assistant program director/music director/afternoon talent at “The Wolf” (2007-2014). He takes over for J.C. Coffey, who left WTHT late last month ….. This past Saturday (8/4), 24-year-old Eric Manias was a victim of a home invasion at his New Albany (Ohio) apartment. Manias is a family member of Digi-Dude Nate, who is part of “Bailey and Southside,” the morning team on Cumulus Media Atlanta’s WNNX “Rock 100.5.” Manias was shot twice, beaten, and robbed. Transported to Grant Hospital, he is in critical condition with a fractured jaw and arm; broken hip; and numerous cuts and bruises; he’s had four surgeries thus far. Manias was born with pulmonary atresia, a heart disease in which the pulmonary valve is not properly formed. Shortly after his birth, he had three open-heart procedures. As of noon yesterday (8/7), a fund to help with his medical bills raised more than $5,700 toward a $10,000 goal ….. WOCQ-HD2 “Kool Oldies,” Salisbury-Ocean City (Maryland); WQTL “Kool Oldies 106.1,” Tallahassee (Florida); and KWML “Kool Oldies,” Las Cruces (New Mexico) are the latest affiliates of Envision Networks’Wolfman Jack Radio Show.” All three are Adams Radio Group properties. Its president & chief executive officer Ron Stone states, “We are thrilled to bring ‘The Wolfman’ back in our markets where we have great oldies stations playing the best music of all time. We believe the audience our oldies stations target are going to fall in love with ‘The Wolfman’ all over again.”

Friday, July 6, 2018

| July 6, 2018

Report: PE Firm Silver Lake Partners Interested in iHeartMedia.  According to a report in the New York Post, private equity firm Silver Lake Partners is interested in buying iHeartMedia when it emerges from Chapter 11 reorganization. iHeartMedia is expected to exit Chapter 11 in October with a reduced debt load of $10 billion – down from the current $20 billion.  The report says Silver Lake is in talks about the purchase with iHM’s creditors, who will own the company upon bankruptcy protection exit.  The report adds that leading creditors believe iHeartMedia is worth between $12 billion and $15 billion.

Remembering Ed SchultzTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the talk media career rise of Ed Schultz, who passed away on July 5 at the age of 64. The former college football quarterback spent 15 years doing sports media – mostly on television at WDAY-TV, Fargo – before launching a talk radio career.  As most regular TALKERS readers are aware, Schultz was a conservative talker in the beginning, but his politics – and his radio program – morphed in large part due to an encounter with the woman who would become his wife, Wendy Schultz.  Read the full piece about Schultz’s life and radio career here.

Dave Bourne Named Operations Manager at KYKN, Salem, Oregon.  News/talk KYKN, Salem, Oregon announces Dave Bourne joins the station to serve as operations manager.  Prior to joining KYKN, Bourne led the programming at KUIK, Portland.  KYKN general manager Mike Frith says Bourne brings his extensive experience developing a “large local footprint.”  Frith adds, “Without LOCAL we are just another station.  We’ve had a good presence locally and we are going to have a GREAT local presence.  We will begin to broadcast high school football and basketball this fall in the Salem metro with a population of 404,000.  We are now going to have 150 “live remotes” at local sponsors and events over the next 12 months.  We’re pleased that Dave will lead us in this major effort.”

TALKERS Continues Posting Videos Today of the Recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Convention – Today’s Post:  Panel Discussion About Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2018.  Today (7/6), TALKERS magazine continues posting individual events from the recent TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! convention held in New York City on June 8.  Each business day, another session will be posted in the order that they originally took place.  Today’s ninth installment features the panel discussion titled “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2018.”  It is moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey; introduced by Crossover Media Group managing member Ron Hartenbaum; and featuring panelists Asa RX host AsaBold Gold Media Group CEO, Vince BenedettoHowie Carr Radio Network president Kathy CarrWestwood One president Suzanne Grimes; WBAL, Baltimore president/GM Cary Pahigian; and KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz owner Michael Zwerling.  Videos already posted include the special presentation by Amplifi Media CEO, Steven Goldstein titled “Radio Broadcasters and Smart Speakers with an introduction by GCN personality Dr. Daliah Wachs ;  a special presentation by PodcastOne chairman and CEO, Norm Pattiz titled “Radio Broadcasters and Podcasting” with an introduction by Voice of America and National Public Radio anchor/reporter, Lori Lundin;  a special presentation by WFAN personality Mike Francesa titled “Sports Talk’s Role in Media and Popular Culture” with an introduction by author and former radio producer Bernadette Duncan;  Salem SVP Phil Boyce’s address titled “What Has Donald Trump Done to Talk Radio?”; the fireside chat between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley including Harrison’s presentation of the 2018 “Woman of the Year” award to Beasley; Harrison’s fireside chat with FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel mega-star Brian Kilmeade with an introduction by Westwood One syndicated host Walter Sterling and special remarks by Sean Hannity; opening remarks by the convention’s co-emcees, TalkersRadio GM, David Bernstein and Good Day Networks/DJV Show CEO/host, Doug Stephan; KGO, San Francisco host, Ethan Bearman delivering the event’s welcoming remarks and Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host, Brad Shepard introduction of Bearman.  Also posted: the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech (“Freedom of Speech Award”) by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian to SiriusXM Satellite Radio host, book publisher, Hunter College professor, and former New York Daily News/Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Karen Hunter.  To view the page, please click here.

SB Nation Promotes Larson to COO; Announces Lineup Tweaks. Sports radio network SB Nation Radio promotes network program director Craig Larson to chief operating officer.  Larson says, “It’s just a joy to wake up and come to work every day.  As I enter my 20th year with the network, I am proud of my team and optimistic about our future.”  Also, SB Nation announces that the morning show “SB Nation AM” will feature Tony Desiere and Ronn Culver as co-hosts.  Desiere has been with the network for six years.  Culver joined back in 2014 and currently serves as executive producer.  Finally, the network adds “The Gold Standard” with host Alex Gold to the lineup, airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.

Radio Talent Agent Heather Cohen Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the radio industry’s leading talent agents, Heather Cohen, EVP of the Weiss Agency is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Cohen, who is also the co-chair of the Gracie Awards, discusses the state of the radio business as it applies to talent including a look at the status of women in the industry with a fascinating historical retrospective. Harrison and Cohen also discuss the methods available to young people breaking into the radio and television industries going forward. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes. The company that syndicated the daily, two-hour magazine-style program “Our American Stories” announces the feed time for the program is moving from 9:00 pm ET to 6:00 am ET, effective August 1.  American Private Radio CEO and program host Lee Habeeb says the change reflects the desire by many programmers to get a same-day feed for earlier placement in the day. “More than half of our affiliates now carry ‘Our American Stories’ outside of evenings, so it made sense to provide an early morning feed to accommodate stations who wish to run the timely program earlier on the day.”  Our American Stories is heard in more than 130 markets…..Benztown is announcing the launch of a new, 30-second daily featuring starring radio and television sportscaster Vic “The Brick” Jacobs titled, “This Day in Sports History.”  The show is available to stations through Benztown’s Adrenaline Sports Imaging Library.

Illegal Immigration/Abolish ICE Movement Top News/Talk Stories for Week of July 2-6.  Debate about the U.S.’s illegal immigration policies and the related movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the open Supreme Court seat and President Trump’s likely three top candidates.  Coming in at #3 was the impending meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin, tied with the related Trump-Russia investigation, followed by the Scott Pruitt investigation and his subsequent resignation as head of the EPA at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Rare Audio File from 2013:  The Late Nick Michaels Interviews Michael Harrison About Music and the Golden Age of Progressive Rock Radio.  A rare audio interview conducted by the late Nick Michaels (left) with Michael Harrison (below, on WNEW-FM circa 1972) has been located by TALKERS archivists on the website www.thedeependwithnickmichaels.com.  The legendary Michaels – the renowned radio imaging master, voice actor, and host of the classic rock syndicated show “The Deep End” – passed away on May 25 due to a sudden heart attack.  The unplanned conversation took place between recording sessions when Michaels and Harrison were collaborating on a music radio two-hour special titled, “The Classic Rock Summer of ’13 Kick-Off,” as the temporary team of Michael and Michaels.  In this 30-plus minute interview, Michaels asks Harrison about his early days as a pioneer in progressive rock radio and his opinion about various classic artists as well as the state of music radio in general.  Students of music radio history and devotees of album rock will find this conversation extremely informative and entertaining.  To listen to it in its entirety, please click here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Tampa market, evening personality Terry Young “The Motormouth” moves to morning drive at NIA Broadcasting’s rhythmic AC WTMP-AM/W248CA, effective July 9…..Yea Networks’ syndicated “Tino Cochino Radio” program is added to the evening daypart at Mapleton Commuications’ CHR KZBD, Spokane “107.5 NOW.”…..SiriusXM’s Heart & Soul and Kirk Franklin’s Praise channels are broadcasting live interviews from the 2018 Essence Music Festival taking place in New Orleans this weekend.  SiriusXM hosts Cayman Kelly, Michel Wright and Meta Washington will be live on the Ford Stage interviewing some of the biggest singers and actors.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

| June 5, 2018

Cumulus Media Emerges from Chapter 11. The company said it would emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization during the second quarter of this year and that turns out to be the case.  In a statement, Cumulus Media says it has “successfully completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 having reduced its debt by more than $1 billion.  The Company plans to utilize its enhanced financial flexibility to continue its ongoing business transformation and drive value creation on behalf of all its stakeholders.”  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner adds, “Over the last two years, we have been relentlessly focused on our plans to turn the Company around, and the completion of our financial restructuring process is a monumental step forward on our turnaround path.  We emerge today as a stronger and more competitive Company, with the financial foundation that we need to move forward decisively with the initiatives that will produce the greatest benefits for the Company.  With this financial restructuring now behind us, we are excited about what we will be able to accomplish with all of our resources and energy fully focused on our operating business.”  In the statement, Cumulus reports that it reduced its total debt balance from $2.34 billion to $1.30 billion, consisting entirely of a term loan bearing interest at LIBOR plus 450 basis points and due May 15, 2022.  “Also, pursuant to the terms of the financial restructuring, the Company’s previously outstanding equity was cancelled and certain former stakeholders are being issued 11,052,211 shares of the Company’s Class A common stock, 5,218,209 shares of the Company’s Class B common stock and warrants to purchase 3,729,589 shares of common stock in exchange for their prior claims. Except with regard to voting and conversion rights, shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock are identical in all respects.  Generally, the holders of shares of Class B common stock are not entitled to vote on any matters, although such shares are convertible into shares of Class A common stock, subject to FCC rules and regulations and the Company’s governance documents. We have applied to have our Class A common stock listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol CMLS and, until such time, expect that such shares will be quoted on the OTC Pink Sheets under the symbol CMIA.”

Kathy Smith to Lead Cumulus Eugene, Oregon. At Cumulus Media’s Eugene, Oregon station group, Kathy Smith is the new VP/market manager.  She was most recently Alpha Media Portland’s general sales manager.  Cumulus Eugene includes news/talk KUGN and sports talk KUJZ-FM and four music outlets.  Cumulus EVP Bob Walker says, “We are very pleased to have Kathy leading our team in Eugene.  Her deep experience and true passion for the Pacific Northwest region make her an incredible asset to our six great stations and the community they serve.”

‘97.9 ESPN Hartford’ Names Bob Joyce UConn Sports Executive Producer. At sports talker WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN Hartford,” Bob Joyce is named executive producer for University of Connecticut Athletics content.  Joyce’s duties include serving as the radio voice for Women’s Basketball and Men’s Hockey, handling play-by-play, and working closely with “The Rob Dibble Show.”  He’ll report to iHeartMedia Connecticut program director for sports and talk Ben Darnell.  iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb states, “We are excited to have Bob Joyce on our team.  Bob brings continuity and a high-quality professionalism to our UConn content.  He is well known in the market and with UConn fans and we are confident he will bring UConn sports broadcasting to new levels.”

Hayley Tenpas Named WHBY, Appleton Talk Host.  In the Appleton-Green Bay, Wisconsin market, Woodward Communications names Hayley Tenpas host of the afternoon drive “Focus Fox Valley” program that airs from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tenpas formerly served as news anchor at Scripps’ WGBA-TV, Green Bay.  She is a native of the Fox Valley, having grown up in Hortonville.  She earned her broadcast journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  WHBY brand manager Justin Hull says, “We are excited to welcome Hayley to the WHBY team.  Her passion for the community will be a great addition to our weekday lineup.”

TALKERS News Notes.  On Monday (6/11), 77 WABC Radio in New York is hosting the first GOP primary debate between U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan and former Congressman Michael Grimm.  The station says the two are locked in a “tight and heated race” for New York’s 11th Congressional District.  The one-hour live debate will take place at WABC Radio studios in New York City at 12:00 noon ET and veteran journalist and WABC Radio host and political editor Rita Cosby will serve as moderator as part of the first hour of her talk show with Curtis Sliwa, “Curtis + Cosby.”…..The legal case of St. Louis talk show host Jamie Allman against Emmis Communications and Entercom is being moved from Missouri state court to federal court.  RegularTALKERS readers remember that Allman is suing the two companies for breach of contract after Allman was let go from his KFTK-FM radio show in the aftermath of social media comments he made about Parkland, Florida student David Hogg.  At the time of his firing from KFTK-FM, Entercom was LMAing the station from Emmis as it waited to close on the purchase of the station…..The GCN nationally syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs program is added to the program schedule at KBDB-HD3, Forks, Washington…..Longtime KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City talk show host Doug Wright said a final farewell to his listeners on Friday, June 1.  Wright retired from the Bonneville-owned news/talk station after more than 40 years on the air in the market.  To fill the air time left open by Wright’s retirement, Bonneville is expanding the “Dave and Dujanovic” show to 9:00 am to 12:00.

Joe Brewer Promoted at Katz Media Group.  Twenty-two-year staffer Joe Brewer is promoted to president of business operations at Katz Media Group.  Brewer – who started with the company in 1996 – was most recently chief administrative officer.  In this position, Brewer will increase his focus on business operations across Katz Radio Group, Katz Television Group and Katz Digital with the goal of streamlining company processes and aligning all technology and innovation initiatives with company goals.

AWMF to Honor Judy Woodruff at Gracies Awards Luncheon. The leadership of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour,” will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards Luncheon on June 27 at Cipriani 42ndStreet in New York. The annual Gracies Luncheon honors individual achievement and outstanding programming at the local level for TV and radio, public level for radio, and student level for TV, radio and interactive media.  CNN’s Erica Hill will host the luncheon.   AWMF chair Christine Travaglini says, “The Gracie Awards celebrate the female storytellers who are changing the narrative and pushing boundaries in the quest toward diversity and equality.  Since the beginning of her journalism career in 1976, Judy Woodruff’s connected, well-researched approach is consistently present and illustrates why she is so worthy of this Lifetime Achievement Award. We at AWM and AWMF, through the Gracies, are incredibly proud to honor and celebrate outstanding talent and content for, by and about women.”

Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Allegations, Trump Uninvites Eagles to White House, SCOTUS Cake Ruling, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Clinton NBC Interview, North Korea Summit, Dwight Clark Dies, NBA Finals, and Major League Baseball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4). The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and allegations that Paul Manafort attempted to tamper with witnesses; President Trump uninvites the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House; the Supreme Court rules in favor of Denver baker who refused to make wedding cake for gay couple; the aftermath of the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal; Bill Clinton’s reaction to being questioned about Monica Lewinsky on “Today” show interview; the status of the U.S.-North Korea summit; San Francisco 49ers great Dwight Clark dies at 61; the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

BFoA Establishes Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund. The Broadcasters Foundation of America has established the Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund in honor of the broadcaster who died this past Friday (6/1) at age 69 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  BFoA president Jim Thompson states, “Joe was a friend and champion of the Broadcasters Foundation and our industry. He devoted time and energy to advancing broadcasting and to helping colleagues in need.  He will be missed by many, personally and professionally.”  Bilotta spent more than 40 years at Buckley Broadcasting where he helped build the group’s standing through such noted stations as WOR-AM, New York and WDRC-AM and WDRC-FM in Hartford.  Bilotta was saluted by his colleagues in April with the coveted Ward L. Quaal Leadership Award, given by the Broadcasters Foundation of America at a breakfast ceremony held during the 2018 NAB Show.  To donate to the Joseph M. Bilotta Memorial Fund, please visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org, call 212-373-8250, or email info@thebfoa.org.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Joining Envision Networks as assistant marketing manager is Kelsey Shawgo.  She comes to Envision with a background in writing and music journalism.  She has been published in Substream Magazine, Fashion Meets Music Festival Magazine, and was a staff news writer and features writer for Alternative Press before joining Envision Networks. She also has worked in promotions for the now-Entercom-owned Cleveland station cluster.  Envision says, “Kelsey’s acumen for millennial sentimentalities with a focus on new media and creative content will enhance Envision Networks’ marketing team.  She aims to strengthen the brand voice of Envision Networks in all written and graphic content including public relations, social media, and the monthly journalistic Envision Insider newsletter…..iHeartMedia announces the primetime lineup for its iHeartRadio Music Festival taking place in Las Vegas September 21 and 22.  Performers include: Justin Timberlake, Jack White, Carrie Underwood, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Jason Aldean, Sam Smith, Luke Bryan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Panic! At The Disco, Kelly Clarkson, Shawn Mendes, Kygo, Rae Sremmurd, Logic, and more…..iHeartMedia Chicago announces that market radio pro Lisa Dent is joining country WBGG “BIG 95.5” to host weekend programs.  Dent previously co-hosted mornings on Entercom’s crosstown WUSN-FM in Chicago for 10 years before launching her first business, Lisa Dent Speaks, LLC, and building her own studio, The Radio Farm…..Cumulus Media’s Atlanta CHR WWWQ “Q100” launches a new online destination called Q-U at quatlanta.com.  Cumulus says Q-U “puts listeners first with video content that brings together the ‘Q100’ listening community in a new way and includes original content from listeners who share their lives with others who have a passion for hit music.  Q-U tackles issues affecting young adults on a daily basis, including relationships, jobs, college loans, family and activism.”  Cumulus Media Atlanta VP and market manager Sean Shannon adds, “Q-U builds the ‘Q100’ brand and elevates and transforms the standard ‘we talk, you listen’ format to a truly integrated conversational fan experience.  We couldn’t be more excited to launch this innovative new destination for Atlantans who love hit music.”…..Westwood One’s nationally syndicated “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” program is broadcasting live from the George Jones Museum in Nashville during this week’s CMA Fest.  Each morning’s live broadcast inside The George Jones is free and open to the public.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

| August 10, 2017

Bennett Helps WCBS-AM Note Its All-News Golden Anniversary. A special interview and performance this past Tuesday (8/8) by iconic singer Tony Bennett at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square highlighted a celebration of 50 years of news as CBS Radio New York’s WCBS-AM observed its 50th birthday as an all-news outlet. Wayne Cabot (29 years at WCBS-AM, the station’s longest-tenured anchor) and fellow news anchor Alex Silverman (who joined WCBS-AM in April 2011) hosted the event, which included a plethora of stories from WCBS-AM personalities and guests. Senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio New York Marc Rayfield states that WCBS-AM “is a trusted New York City news outlet with a rich history and legacy of delivering up-to-the-minute news. We will continue to tell the stories of the people, places, and happenings from all around this great city. This special night gathered listeners, station personalities, and prominent figures to celebrate what the station has meant for the past 50 years and will continue to mean into the future.” In addition to Cabot and Silverman, other WCBS-AM personalities there Tuesday night included Craig Allen, Joe Connolly, Pat Farnack, Brad Heller, Tom Kaminski, Paul Murnane, Steve Scott, and Michael Wallace. Among those sharing their New York stories were Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes,” “Late Show with David Letterman” bandleader (“The World’s Most Dangerous Band” and “CBS Orchestra”) Paul Shaffer, and former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine. CBS News’ Anthony Mason conducted the Tony Bennett interview. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales (which ranged from $55 to $150 per person) was donated to Exploring the Arts Foundation, Bennett’s charity organization dedicated to transforming lives of young people through arts education. Following back-to-back 2.4 showings (6+) in Nielsen Audio’s April and May PPM reports, WCBS-AM has registered a 2.7 (6+) in June and July, moving up from #13 in June to #12. Entercom will continue to use the CBS Radio News brand for at least one year after it closes on all of CBS Radio’s AM and FM properties.

KIRO-FM Teams with Seattle Police to Provide “Beds for Kids.” The goal of a joint effort between Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM and the Seattle Police Department is to provide 600 needy local children with mattresses, bedframes, sheet sets, comforters, pillows and a Teddy bear. KIRO-FM afternoon drive (3:00 – 7:00 pm) hosts “Ron (Upshaw) & Don (O’Neill)” have been dedicated advocates for the “Beds for Kids” project since its inception, with O’Neill emphasizing, “Now, more than ever, we need to make sure that every child that needs a bed – gets a bed. When a child gets a good night sleep and something to eat, it is proven they stay in school and they do better in school. Help us help police help kids – it’s another way to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.” The “Beds for Kids” cofounder Jeremy Wade notes, “Over the last three years, we have been amazed to see how many kids in our community sleep on the floor. Through the ‘Beds for Kids’ program, we have provided over 500 local kids with a brand-new bed. This year’s goal of 600 beds is our most ambitious yet, but with the support of our partners and the public, we know it can be done.” The project was created in 2014 by Wade and fellow officer Ryan Gallagher, who responded to a 9-1-1 call and discovered two young girls had been sleeping on the floor. Wade and Gallagher returned to that home with new beds purchased with their own money. Since then, hundreds of people have stepped up to assist the two officers in providing beds for children in need. Elsewhere inside that Bonneville cluster, Seattle Seahawks coverage on sports talk KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” will include John Clayton (formerly with ESPN-TV), who will serve as a sideline reporter. In addition, Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who called Seahawks pre-season games and was part of Westwood One’s NFL coverage the last two seasons, returns as radio analyst, a role he held for 13 seasons prior to 2015. Back as well for his 36th year on play-by-play is Steve Raible; Jen Mueller is in her ninth season doing sideline reporting.

Stigall Featured on “The Fox News Specialists.” Pictured above at the far right as he made his point yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 8/9) on “The Fox News Specialists” is CBS Radio-owned WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Philadelphia 5:30 am – 9:00 am talent Chris Stigall. Intently looking on (left to right) are another guest specialist Mike Baker, co-host Eboni Williams, guest-host Mark Steyn, and co-host Katherine Timpf.

PPM Data – Part Three. July 2017 ratings information has been released for Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, Orlando, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen Audio’s July 2017 survey period covered June 22 – July 19. View all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Gottlieb Kicks Off Training Camp Tour. Gearing up for the start of football season, Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb hits the road for on-location coverage from several NFL training sites. The journey began this past Monday (8/7) with a broadcast from the Los Angeles Rams facility at UC Irvine. Still in Southern California (Oxnard-Ventura), Gottlieb is with the Dallas Cowboys today (Thursday, 8/10), and he will visit the Los Angeles Chargers’ camp at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa next Wednesday (8/16). Pictured left to right are Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay.

LG To Activate FM Chips in its Smartphones. The announcement that LG phones in North America and Latin America will have FM chips activated moving forward comes from NextRadio parent TagStation, whose president Paul Brenner states, “We are proud and excited to partner with one of the world’s leading Smartphone providers to continue our mission of connecting and exposing users to a fully immersive radio experience. This alliance will give millions of consumers the opportunity to receive real over-the-air FM radio through their phone.” NextRadio will be pre-loaded on some models.

WQBA Named Dolphins’ Spanish-Language Radio Flagship. As part of the multi-year agreement, Univision Radio Miami Spanish news/talk WQBA will air all Miami Dolphins pre-season, regular season, and playoff games. Raul Striker Jr. will handle play-by-play duties, while Eduardo Martell will provide color analysis. WQBA will produce pregame and postgame shows, as well as a weekly show covering Dolphins-related news/events. Sports programming falls under the recently-launched Univision Deportes Radio sports network. WQBA senior vice president and general manager Claudia Puig comments, “We are excited to once again partner with the Miami Dolphins, offering them a terrific opportunity to reach their Spanish-speaking fans through Univision Deportes Radio. Our listeners will now be able to cheer their favorite football team ‘en español.’ The Dolphins broadcasts will be a perfect complement to Univision Deportes Radio’s outstanding sports programming lineup.” Miami Dolphins senior vice president and chief commercial officer Todd Kline adds, “We are proud to partner with Univision Deportes Radio WQBA 1140 AM and are confident they will deliver the most complete and up-to-date coverage of the Miami Dolphins to fans. The Dolphins have a 36-year commitment to broadcast games in Spanish in the South Florida market – this partnership delivers on our strong tradition.” Spanish-language broadcasts of Dolphins games were previously heard on crosstown Deportes Media Spanish Sports WNMA “ESPN Deportes Miami.” The team’s English-language flagships are CBS Radio Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560” and co-owned WKIS “Kiss 99.9 New Country.”

TALKERS News Notes. Citing other media sources, The Tennessean reports that former Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck will leave his “Wake-Up Zone” morning show co-hosting duties on Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” in the next few weeks. Earlier, Wycheck announced he is stepping away from his role as analyst for Titans’ radio broadcasts for a year, owing to cognitive issues related to concussions from his playing days. It is reported, however, that Wycheck will remain with “The Zone” for swing duty ….. In other football-related news, iHeartMedia Tucson’s KTZR “Fox Sports 1450” joins the Arizona Cardinals radio network. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Tucson David Adams comments, “As the new home for Fox Sports in Tucson; the future home of Dan Patrick; and the official broadcast partner of the Tucson Roadrunners, we couldn’t be more excited to solidify our position as ‘Tucson’s Sports Station’ by adding the Cardinals.” The team’s previous Tucson affiliate was Cumulus Media’s KCUB “Sports Radio 1290.”

Checkpoint Radio Adds Houston, Philadelphia, and St. Louis Affiliates. The latest to join Checkpoint Radio – the first nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to the world of e-sports and gaming – are GOW Media’s KFNC “ESPN 97.5 FM,” Houston; Beasley Media Group’s WPEN “97.5 FM The Fanatic, Philadelphia”; and Hubbard’s WXOS “101 ESPN, St Louis.” Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of corporate marketing Suzanne Grimes comments, “Checkpoint Radio is the only national show that connects radio stations and listeners to the explosive energy around e-sports. According to Newzoo, e-sports will grow to $696 million in revenue this year, a year-over-year increase of 41%. Brand investment is predicted to grow to $1.5 billion by 2020. This is a space you want to be in. Westwood One is the undeniable leader in sports programming – we know e-sports is an important sector for affiliates and advertisers.” Checkpoint Radio managing partner Rick Scott notes, “We are excited at the rapid growth of Checkpoint Radio in so many quality and big markets. It is a testament to the quality and appeal of the show and the passionate crew working to put it together.” Hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard, and Joe Sloan, two-hour weekly Checkpoint Radio features insights, news, interviews, and updates designed specifically for the video game and e-sports fan. In addition to the weekly show, Checkpoint also produces a podcast featuring content not heard on the radio program.

WKLB Elevates Santolucito to Director/Music and Marketing. Over and above continuing her oversight of the marketing/promotions department of WKLB “Country 102.5,” Dawn Santolucito is promoted to music and marketing director at the Beasley Media Group Boston property. Program director David Corey states, “Dawn’s passion, dedication, and organizational skills – plus a great ear for music – made her the ideal candidate for the position. We are proud to have Dawn in our ‘Country 102.5’ family.” Santolucito comments, “It truly has been a privilege being a part of the ‘Country 102.5’ family for the past seven years in my role within the marketing/promotions department. I am thrilled to begin this new chapter.” Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s just-released July 2017 PPM report, WKLB is flat at 4.5, but climbs from seventh in June 2017 to sixth, while cross-town format competitor – iHeartMedia-owned WBWL “101.7 The Bull – Boston’s New Hit Country” is up (modestly) for the third straight time (2.1 – 2.2 – 2.4 – 2.5, 6+) and inches up from #17 to #16. With a 7.7 (6+), WKLB classic hits-oldies sibling WROR “Boston’s Classic Hits” remains at #1 for the seventh successive sweep.

iHR, Understood.org Align to Help Kids Facing Learning/Attention Issues. One of every five children have a learning and attention challenge such as ADHD or dyslexia. A partnership between iHeartMedia and Understood.org explores and raises awareness of learning and attention issues, and breaks stereotypes about these often-misunderstood children. The partnership includes public service announcements voiced by iHeartMedia personalities Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Mario Lopez, and Bobby Bones, as well as a long-form public affairs show. Commenting about Understood.org, its executive leader/corporate partnerships & alliances Nancy Smith states, “This whole team is deeply committed to helping the millions of children with learning and attention issues get the support they need – support that can help them reverse any downward spiral in school.” From prior experience, Smith felt that iHeartRadio “has a strong belief in win-win partnerships and in helping the world be a better place. I knew collaboration with the iHeart team could take us to new levels of support for kids with learning and attention issues.” Aided by 15 nonprofit organizations, Understood.org launched nearly three years ago. “Today, it supports and empowers millions of parents through personalized resources, daily access to experts, a community of other parents and experts, and interactive tools,” Smith explains. “Many accomplished musicians including Justin Timberlake [ADHD], Lindsey Stirling [dyslexia], and Jewel [dyslexia] have learning and attention issues. Understood is happy to call iHeartRadio a partner in our mission to raise awareness of learning and attention issues. Having the support of a community of musical artists and fans who embrace differences can help build widespread acceptance for kids who are so often misunderstood. Together with iHeartRadio, we want to help even more children with learning and attention issues.”

Sun Broadcast Group Enters the “Country Fried Mix.” A sales and affiliation partnership with Sun Broadcast Group will bring “Country Fried Mix” with national touring artist and producer DJ Sinister to the network in three weeks (9/1). Sun chief executive officer Jason Bailey remarks, “One of the things we have always tried to do at Sun is find exciting and unique programs for our listeners and clients. When I heard ‘Country Fried Mix’ for the first time, I knew we had to have it in our lineup. There is simply nothing [else] like it on the radio – that’s why it is perfect for us. We are honored to represent this incredible product to the industry and the clients who support it.” According to DJ Sinister, “This new opportunity really takes us to the next level with partners that are willing to take risks,” while the program’s producer Charlie Pennachio adds, “Focus created this expansion; this opportunity gives us the ability to become a laser beam with a team.” The weekend show of mashed up/remixed country hits has aired since 2014 and has affiliates in (among other markets) Philadelphia, Miami, Detroit, Phoenix, and Nashville.

Opening “The Vault” Again in Montgomery. Jettisoning its top 40 format in order to return to rock as “107.1 The Vault” is Bluewater Broadcasting Montgomery, Alabama’s WQKS-HD3 W296AI. It abandoned “The Vault” four years ago in favor of classic jams “Yo! 107.1,” but as program director Rick Peters writes on his Facebook page, “The market has spoken and –  contrary to popular belief – we do listen. ‘The Vault’ will try to recreate album and progressive rock stations from the 1970s, such as [Los Angeles’] KMET and KLOS; [Chicago’s] WLUP [‘The Loop’]; [Philadelphia’s] WMMR; [Miami’s] WSHE; and [St. Louis’] KSHE. The format is freeform – the [on-air talent] can program what they like. Every day will be different – it’s a throwback. At the same time, it’s evolutionary for the day [but] it’s not designed to be mass-appeal. For those that ‘lived’ the music the first time, we will try to be worthy. For the rest of you, listen up [because] you might find something you love.” Among persons 12+ in Montgomery’s most recent Nielsen Audio book (spring 2017), WQKS-HD3 checks in at #16 with a .8, while iHeartMedia urban contemporary WZHT “Hot 105.7” is on top with an 11.2 (12+).

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Earlier this week, midday host Danny Dwyer of Alpha Media Portland country outlet KUPL “98.7 The Bull” raised $10,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in his inaugural golf invitational at Salem Oregon’s Creekside Country Club ….. A variety of tomato-themed activities will be included next Saturday (8/19) when Beasley Media Group Philadelphia classic rock WMGK morning personality John DeBella holds his three-hour (11:00 am – 2:00 pm) “Tomato Fest” in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Among the highlights are a biggest-tomato contest; a dunk tank manned by the show’s “Super Steve”; and bobbing for tomatoes. In addition, WMGK’s house band Kategory Five will perform, and there will be a classic car display. Donations of canned goods and fresh produce will be collected to benefit the South Jersey Food Bank. DeBella is said to have thought up the “Tomato Fest” concept while seeing a vast number of farm stands and pondering why the tomato wasn’t being celebrated ….. Three (four-hour) Westwood One Labor Day weekend music specials are in the pipeline. Imagine Dragons front man Dan Reynolds will host rock’s “Summer Wrap Up”; Louis Tomlinson does the same for the pop format’s “Last Big Summer Weekend”; and ACM-award winner Kelsea Ballerini has the honors for “Workin’ Hard Country.”

Ell Talks Up Her Latest “Project.” During her visit to Westwood One’s syndicated “Ty, Kelly, & Chuck” morning show, Lindsay Ell discussed touring with Brad Paisley and creating her new album “The Project” with producer Kristian Bush. Shown left to right are Ty Bentli, Kelly Ford, Lindsay Ell, and Chuck Wicks.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

| June 22, 2017

Hugh Hewitt to Host Weekend Show on MSNBC. TVNewser is first with the report that Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt will begin hosting a Saturday morning show on MSNBC on Saturday (6/24).   The program will air live at 8:00 am ET.  Obviously, some will be surprised by the addition of conservative Hewitt joining the left-leaning cable news/talk channel, but as The Hollywood Reporter points out in its coverage of the story, MSNBC recently added former Fox News Channel personality Greta Van Susteren and former George W. Bush Administration communications staffer Nicole Wallace.  In illustrating the gains MSNBC has made over the last 12 months, THR also notes that Standard Media Index just released a report showing MSNBC’s ad rates are up 43% over last year’s.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the second in a series of analyses based on data from the May 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio, this time focusing on sports talk.  The return of Major League Baseball is usually good for sports talkers during summer ratings periods, and in this report, Kinosian concludes that, for the 6+ demo, “just over half the stations (53%) on the panel are up April 2017 – May 2017; one in four (25%) are down; and the remaining 22% of the sample is flat.”  However, “approximately two of every three eligible sports talk stations are down year-to-year (64%) while 26% improve; the remaining 10% are steady.”  Just five sports talkers ranked in the top five in their respective markets in the May 2017 survey, led by CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM, Detroit at #2 (behind the company’s all-newser WWJ-AM).  See the entire report here.

Joey Hudson Rises to GM of Mike Gallagher Show. Longtime Mike Gallagher show team member Joey Hudson is named general manager for the Salem Radio Network syndicated talk show.  Hudson serves as executive director of the Gallagher’s Army: Fallen Officer Fund charity, a position in which he’ll continue to serve.  He’s also been GM of Salem-owned Caron Broadcasting’s WGTK-FM and WRTH-FM in Greenville, South Carolina.  He’ll leave that position.  Mike Gallagher says, “2017 has been the strongest year we’ve had in terms of affiliates, ratings and revenue for our national radio show.  Joey is the perfect person to oversee the growing daily operations of our show throughout the rest of 2017 and into the exciting future.”

Warren Franklin Named Morning Host at KYKN. In Salem, Oregon, iSalem Media news/talker KYKN announces that market pro Warren Franklin is named morning drive host.  In addition to handling the morning news and commentary duties, Franklin will do 15 live remote broadcasts each month.  KYKN program director (and afternoon air personality) Gator Gaynor says, “We are delighted to have someone of Warren’s ability and robust personality on our team.”

Edison Research and NPR Study Smart Speaker Owner Habits. There’s a lot of optimism on the part of radio station operators that the smart speaker – Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Apple’s Homepod – can bring radio listening back into the home.  NPR and Edison Research have partnered to research the habits of current smart speaker owners to see if that optimism is well grounded. The results of the “The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research” will be revealed in part at a June 28 webinar.  Edison VP of strategy Tom Webster says, “Although Smart Speakers have not been around for very long, nearly one in five owners say that these devices are the way that they most often listen to audio.  The frictionless way in which these devices enable audio consumption is already changing listening behaviors, and potentially increasing audio consumption overall.”  The study consisted of a national online survey of 1620 Americans ages 18+.  Eight hundred respondents owned at least one smart speaker (160 Google Home, 709 Amazon Alexa-enabled, and 69 who owned both.) Eight hundred and twenty respondents did not own a smart speaker device and were surveyed for comparative purposes.

Starnes Keynotes Writer’s Conference. Pictured above is Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes serving as keynote speaker at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference.  During the event he also led workshops for more than 500 writers.  As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Starnes is launching a new, three-hour radio talk show on FNR on July 5.  See more about him at toddstarnes.com.

Central PA Host and GM Differ Offer Different Takes on Programming Policy.  By now you’ve heard about classic rock WTPA, Palmyra, Pennsylvania weekend personality Bruce Bond’s exit from the station after, as he claims, feeling forced to resign for being ordered not to talk critically about President Trump.  WTPA general manager Tim Michaels is now speaking out, telling Fox News that Bond was hired to do an entertainment program.  His orders were to not talk politics – nothing specific about being for or against Trump.  Obviously, that’s not how Bond expressed it when he first spoke to media about his exit.

New York Festivals 2017 International Radio Program Award Winners Announced. The big winner in this year’s New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards – the annual awards program honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs – was RTÉ Ireland which was presented with the prestigious title of Broadcaster of Year.  TBI Media UK was honored with Production Company of the Year.  RTÉ Radio Ireland earned an impressive 10 Gold trophies, 8 Silver, 10 Bronze, and 12 Finalist Certificates.  Among the United States winners were, SiriusXM, CBS RADIO Boston, Westwood One, ESPN, ABC Radio, and iHeartMedia.  See the entire list of winners here.

Edwards Returns to Lead Pubcaster WBEZ, Chicago.  Windy City media maven Robert Feder tips us that Steve Edwards is returning to public media outlet WBEZ, Chicago after five years away.  In 2012 Edwards – who hosted a popular two-hour afternoon show – left WBEZ to become executive director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.  Now, he is set to lead WBEZ programming as vice president and chief content officer.  Read Feder’s story here.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Election Hacking Hearings, GOP Health Care Plan, Republican Handel Wins Georgia House Seat, Flint Airport Attack, Tropical Storm Cindy/Western Heatwave, ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Controversy, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/21). The special counsel investigation into possible ties between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; yesterday’s testimony from former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and others about Russian election hacking; the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a plan critics say is being devised behind closed doors; Republican Karen Handel wins the race for Georgia’s sixth congressional district seat; the attack on a police officer at the Flint, Michigan airport by a suspected radical Islamist; Tropical Storm Cindy approaches Louisiana and the Western U.S. heatwave; the controversy over ABC-TV’s ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ program; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show at iHeartMedia’s WWYZ, Hartford “Country 92-5” is “Damon & Cory” – Connecticut radio pro Damon Scott and incumbent WWYZ morning personality Corey Myers.  iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb states, “We are excited that a well-known local personality like Damon Scott is joining longtime morning host, Cory Myers.  Damon Scott is a familiar name that has been on the radio in Connecticut for years.  He understands how to connect with listeners and the local community as well as what it takes to be successful in radio.”  Scott spent the past 27 years as PM drive host at CBS RADIO’s crosstown CHR WTIC-FM…..The new morning show is launched on Cumulus Media’s country WKHX, Atlanta “Kicks 101.5” and it’s called  “Caddy, CJ and Ali,” featuring Cadillac Jack, CJ and Ali Mac.  This comes after the recent move of former morning show co-host Dallas McCade to music director and midday personality.  Concurrent with the lineup changes, “Kicks 101.5” takes on the new slogan, “Georgia’s Country For Life.”…..The Tom Kent Radio Network signs a contract with SAG-AFTRA top become the first major independent American music syndication network to ratify such an agreement.  TKRN CEO and president Tom Kent states, “Our team is more than excited to become a SAG-AFTRA shop!  We embrace all of its principles and look forward to a long and prosperous future together.  Working with the head of SAG-AFTRA local Brian Lysell has been a total pleasure. Our current and future affiliates know how committed we have been to showcasing excellent talent and this deal is a major indication that our commitment will continue.”

iHeartMedia Throws VIP Party at Cannes. Hip hop star The Weeknd was the featured performer at the intimate VIP dinner hosted by iHeartMedia and MediaLink at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, France during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, along with MediaLink CEO Michael Kassan and president/COO Wenda Harris Millard, hosted the party that – for the sixth consecutive year – brought together the “senior most-influential decision makers and thought leaders in the media ecosystem.”  Pictured above are (from l-r): Tom Poleman, chief programming officer for iHeartMedia; John Sykes, president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia; The Weeknd; Michele Anthony, EVP of Universal Music Group; and Scott Borchetta, founder, president & CEO of Big Machine Label GroupPhoto by Tony Barson/Getty Images for iHeartMedia.